The ube jam of Good Shepherd in Baguio is good. Almost too goodâ€¦ a perfect color, smooth and creamy and delicious. I have never been able to replicate it at home though I have come close on just my fourth tryâ€¦ I took earlier comments on my ube jam posts to heart and did some things differently this last attemptâ€¦ first, I washed and brushed the ube very well to remove all remnants of soil and other cooties. Then I boiled it with its skin on (previously I peeled it and bled it colorlessâ€¦) and after cooking it removed only the thinnest of outer layers that looks more like bark than skin. Just under this â€œbarkâ€ is the most intensely purple part of the tuber and I suspect a lot of the color resides in this out Â¼ inch of the ube.
To about 2.3 kilos of cooked ube that I passed through a food mill (as seen in photo at right) for a finer grind, I added about 5.5 cups of milk and 3 cups of sugar and cooked it over a medium-low flame on the stove-top. Constant arm-numbing stirring is necessary and it took close to an hour to cook it and achieve the right consistency. I did not use any food coloring yet the color was a nice purpleâ€¦frankly, the best color achieved in the past was with a touch of good purple food dye (not the watery food colors in the grocery)â€¦ The jam oxidizes or has some other chemical reaction and gets darker as it cools and before you store it away in the fridge. I also noticed that in a simultaneous pot of ube for pastillas, the color appeared more vibrant when condensed milk was added to the mixtureâ€¦ At any rate, the resulting jam is Boholano comfort sweet at its bestâ€¦great by the spoonful or in halo-halo!